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My mum was an IFA: Nicole Kavanagh's advice career so far

My mum was an IFA: Nicole Kavanagh's advice career so far

I have a unique perspective on the advice profession: my mum was an IFA.

While I was growing up my mum was setting up her advice firm, which grew from inside my house. From the age of six, I had a window into the finance world.

The most vivid memory of this was when the 2008 financial crisis hit. I was the only 11 but knew how worried my mum was regarding the downturn of the markets, and how they affected the world we lived in. So I would check my phone throughout the day to see what was happening.

I am now starting to realise just how scary it must have been working as an IFA at the time.

But it is only recently I have discovered that my experience is unique. I studied economics at university, but even many of my fellow students did not seem to understand what financial advisers are and what they do.

Academic importance 

Throughout university I worked as an administrator for my mum’s firm, Monetary Solutions, in Brighton. But I was initially resistant to the idea that I would follow the same path as my mum, having been surrounded by the financial world my whole life.

Then I discovered economics and started to find the answers I was looking for. I had many questions I never knew I had: why did the recession happen? what do the different interest rates and indexes mean and how can we use them?  I learned how IFA firms interact with banks and how this feeds into the global and local economies. Even growing up in that world I had to work twice as hard; once to unlearn what I thought I knew and then to learn the correct answer.

But learning the theory is just the first step. At university I was taught the principles in a simplified reality. Now I have to learn to put these into practice. And having just entering the real world I have a lot still to learn and a long way to go.

I am still at the beginning of learning other professional skills, how to interact with clients and other professionals, how to network and market, as well as more specific skills such as pensions, mortgages and tax regulation.

I am learning the real world is not as neat and tidy as an exam question. The problems are bigger and you have to look at the person as well as the problem in an objective way.

I want to continue to learn and gain different experiences to become a chartered financial planner. I also want explore new ways of marketing to get young people to use IFAs and to bring new blood into the profession.

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